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Obama Press Conference: Petraueus Made the United States 'Safer'

President Barack Obama said ex-CIA Director David Petraeus made the United States 'safer,' during his first press conference since the election


President Barack Obama said the United States was “safer because of the work done by David Petraeus,” during his first press conference since winning the election.

Asked about the affair between the former director of the Central Intelligence Agency and his biographer Paula Broadwell, Obama said he would not comment on the investigation into the scandal.

"We don't have all the information yet but I have a lot of confidence in the FBI," Obama told reporters.

On Petraeus, Obama said: “He served this country with great distinction ... we are safer because of the work David Petraeus has done and my main hope now is that he and his family are able to move on and this ends up being a single side note in what has otherwise been an extraordinary career.”

Questions from reporters during Obama's first press conference since winning a second term last Tuesday focused on the scandal engulfing Petraeus, the economy and the "fiscal cliff," immigration reform, Iran's nuclear program and the ongoing Syrian conflict.

On the economy, Obama said his priority was to create more jobs and prevent the country toppling over the so-called "fiscal cliff"–but to do so he would need bi-partisan support.

"There is only one way to solve these challenges, and that is to do it together," Obama said.

On the looming “fiscal cliff,” which threatens to push the United States back into recession, Obama said he was not prepared to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest two percent of the population.

“What I’m not going to do is extend further a tax cut for folks who don’t need it, that would cost close to a $1 trillion,” Obama told reporters.

“What I want to make sure is that taxes on the middle class don’t go up.”

Obama said he hoped Democrats and Republicans could "hold hands and do what's right for the American people" in order to prevent the country falling into another recession, which he said would be a "rude shock" for the middle class and was "not necessary.

"I'm confident that we can do it," Obama said.

Obama also promised to work harder in the next four years.

“I hope and intend to be a better president in the second term than I was in the first," he said.

"When you travel around the country you are inspired by the grit, resilience, hard work and decency of the American people and it just makes you want to work harder."


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